|Meet Peggy: she's 90 years old and a registered voter. She can't get an ID because she doesn't have her citizenship documentation. She came to the U.S. with her parents thru Ellis Island. She is a naturalized citizen. She doesn't have the money to get the required documents. She missed the deadline to apply for a mail ballot, so she didn't get to vote in the November election.
Or what about Alberta? She was born in Wyoming. She has a copy of her Wyoming birth certificate. She was married in Washington State. She has lost her marriage license and has not been able to get one so far from Washington State. She lived in Colorado for a while and is still using her Colorado driver's license, which will not expire until 2015. She has been living in Texas recently and is registered to vote in Texas. She voted here in the 2012 election. She wants to continue to vote but has been told she cannot vote in Texas unless she gets a copy of her marriage certificate which will link her current name to the name on her birth certificate so she can get an allowable Texas photo ID.
Or Evelyn - She has been trying to get a Texas personal id so she can vote and fly. She has a birth certificate, Social Security card, proof of residency and unexpired Driver's license from another state, but DPS won't issue an id without her marriage license. The county where she was married can't find her marriage license.
Read more voting stories at Empower The Vote.
These are just a few of the voters I know about. You would think that the fact that there were people voting provisional ballots due to voter ID issues would be a clue that some people were having problems. However, Jeff Hillery, a spokesman for the Texas Secretary of State's office, actually said that provisional ballots aren't "problems" at the polls. Are you kidding me? You don't get a provisional ballot if everything is hunky-dory. A provisional ballot, by definition, means there is a problem. The problem might be fixable or it may not, but either way, a problem most definitely exists.
As the state's lawyer, responsible for defending the voter ID law in court, Abbott should be well aware of these issues. Not only are there several cases of voters with very real problems documented in the court filings , but all he had to do was ask DPS if people were having problems obtaining IDs at their offices and the truthful answer would have been yes. Just because these individual voters stories aren't in the newspaper doesn't mean they don't exist. For the AG to not know and/or care about these problems is either willful ignorance or callous indifference.
Stories like these will also come in handy in court when the voter ID trial finally starts, so keep sending them!
Greg Abbott might not think these voters have a problem, but the judge might disagree.
ETVT is working hard to help voters who are experiencing problems and to document the problems for occasions like this. Help me continue to fight back against this burdensome law that has been imposed on the voters of Texas to "solve" a problem that doesn't exist.
- Sondra Haltom
President, Empower The Vote Texas